Land Issues of Ethnic Minority People Were Raised during a Meeting of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination – Thursday, 25.2.2010
The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 653
“Phnom Penh: The loss of forest land as ancentral burying areas and of farming land of ethnic minority people in Cambodia was presented to a committee in Geneva in Switzerland, at the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, meeting last week.
“Three ethnic minority representatives and two non-government organization representatives attended the meeting. They returned to Cambodia on 23 February 2010.
“During a press conference at the NGO Forum on Cambodia in the morning of 24 February 2010, the representatives of ethnic minority people in Cambodia and of non-government organizations shared their reports on the situation of ethnic people in Cambodia, which they had made to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination [based on the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).
“The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination held its 76th meeting from 14 to 23 February 2010. Also, the Cambodian Ambassador to the United Nations, Mr. Sun Suon, attended the meeting, which is held every four years, to respond to questions of the UN committee in relation to the situation of ethnic minority people in Cambodia.
“In the report about the situation of ethnic minority people in Cambodia submitted to the UN committee, non-government officials and ethnic minority representatives stated that recently, there have been some improvements of the situation regarding education, infrastructure, and heath for ethnic minority people. But many serious issues related to natural resources, especially land violations against ethnic minority people in Cambodia, had happened.
“The report pointed to obvious forest violations, such as cases in Kangyu in Ratanakiri, in Bu Sra in Mondolkiri, in Snuol in Kratie, in Rovieng in Preah Vihear, in Oral in Kompong Speu, and at the Yeak Lom lake area in Ratanakiri.
“Forest and farming land, on which the life of ethnic minority people depends, was contracted by the government to private companies as economic concession land for rubber plantations or for mining.
“Ethnic minority people representatives stated during the press conference at the NGO Forum on Cambodia that frequently, their land was grabbed and resources from the forest, on which they rely, were seized. As for the sources of water near their places of living, they were changed by building dams across the river and the water is now contaminated.
“The Cambodian Ambassador to the United Nations was questioned by the UN committee over these serious human rights violations, especially the grabbing of land affecting 179,000 ethnic minority people living in 15 provinces of Cambodia.
“All questions and claims by representatives of the ethnic minority people above were rejected by Mr. Sun Suon, and he said that there are no such hot issues relating to the human rights situation and ethnic minority people’s rights. Regarding the provision of economic concession land to private companies, the government made it based on the law, and he said that forest land belongs to the state, but not to ethnic minority people’s communities.
“Nevertheless, the ethnic minority and non-government organization representatives, who listened to the responses of the Cambodian Ambassador to the UN during the meeting on Sunday, said that they cannot accept such answers that are irresponsible and contradict the real issues. Ethnic minority and non-government organization representatives want the Cambodian government to send a representative from Phnom Penh who knows the actual situation to argue and to respond to the questions of the United Nations at the next meetings.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5135, 25.2.2010
Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 25 February 2010
Areyathor, Vol.16, #1431, 25-26.2.2010
- Samdech Dekchor Hun Sun Called Mr. Sam Rainsy a Traitor [for creating trouble at the Eastern border with Vietnam, while Cambodia is having border issues at the Western border with Thailand]
Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #419, 25.2.2010
- [Prime Minister] Hun Sen: There Can Be Opposition Parties Participating in the Next Elections, but There Should Be No Sam Rainsy [as he is convicted and is now facing an additional conviction over border issues]
- During a Party to Welcome the Return to the Office of Tivea 06 [ “Mr. Anniversary 06,” a nickname of a police official], One Policeman Died and Four Others Were Affected by Poisoning [“Tivea 06” is held again for questioning over this case; before, he had been suspended from his duties in relation to a case of violence against a car mechanic – Phnom Penh]
Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2186, 25.2.2010
- The Prime Minister Encourages Careful Recruitment for Outstanding Students to Work in Education Administration and Teaching [while it is known that often jobs are also given for favors, and not only based on qualifications]
- In 2009 There Were More Criminal Offenses Than in 2008 [there were 3,456 cases, an increas by 575 cases; 353 people were killed and 1,574 were injured – according to the Ministry of Interior]
Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #611, 25.2.2010
- People in a Forest Protection Community Received Death Threats from Forestry Criminals Backed by Powerful People [Lumphat district, Ratanakiri]
Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6893, 25.2.2010
- Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen: The Government Does Not Have the Right to Cut off Land for Other Countries
- A Malaysian Man, the Director of a Company, and His Cook, Were Stabbed to Death; this Case Is Suspected to Be a Robbery [Phnom Penh]
Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.4, #3817, 25.2.2010
- [Opposition party president] Sam Rainsy: The Sam Rainsy Party Is Concerned about the Loss of the Territory Both at the West and at the East – Who Is A Traitor and Who Is Protecting the Territory Will Be Revealed Soon
- Vietnam Plans to Plant Rubber Trees in Cambodia, Laos, and Burma, Spending More Than US$500 Million
Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #119, 25.2.2010
- Mr. Hun Sen Will Visit the Troops Again [stationed in Battambang Province, close to the northern border, on 27 February 2010]
Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5135, 25.2.2010
- Land Issues of Ethnic Minority People Were Raised during a Meeting of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
- Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Warned Bangkok Not to Make Any Comments on His Second Visit to the Cambodian-Thai Border
- Vietnam Assists in Information Technology at the National Assembly of Cambodia [donating printers, computers, and servers worth US$300,000]
Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.18, #1881, 25.2.2010
The Ruling Party Has Endless Excuses to Delay Approving an Anti-Corruption Law [Mr. Cheam Yeap, a parliamentarian from the Cambodian People’s Party, the chairperson of the Commission on Economy, Banking, and Audits of the National Assembly, said that we have to wait further, as the draft needs further review. ]
It is not clear how some of these pieces of information fit together. The Mirror had published a press report on 29.12.2009, which said:
- “The draft of an anti-corruption law has not yet been publicly released, though one part of this draft law was disclosed last week by the spokesperson of the Council of Ministers. When this part of the draft became widely known, it was either welcomed or mocked, as this law will require also staff of non-government organizations, who earn little, to declare their property…
- “The Council of Ministers spokesperson Phay Siphan reiterated day-before-yesterday that the draft law cannot be made public, because it has yet to arrive at the National Assembly. Once it arrives there, it can then be released to the public…
- “However, a secretary of state of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, who asked not to be named, said that the draft has already reached the secretary-general of the National Assembly.”
Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
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